The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea after 13 Chinese planes flew near Taiwan, The Japan Times reported.
According to a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command statement, the strike group, led by the destroyer Theodore Roosevelt, is “conducting a planned deployment as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet to ensure freedom of the seas.”
The ships’ operations included air and helicopter flights, maritime strike exercises, and coordinated tactical training of surface and air units.
Earlier, State Department spokesman Ned Price issued a statement “urging” Beijing to stop “military, diplomatic and economic pressure” on Taiwan and engage in constructive dialogue with its democratically elected representatives.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, China opposed any official contacts between the United States and Taiwan. The ministry warned that if the United States maintained its policy toward the island, it would “pay a heavy price.”
In 1949, as a result of the Chinese Civil War, Kuomintang forces led by Chiang Kai-shek, head of the government of the Republic of China, moved to Taiwan. Since that time, the forces of the partially recognized Republic have controlled the island but claimed all of China. Official Beijing regards Taiwan as its namesake administrative unit.